Sunday, 21 July

Ronaldo urges more big names to make Saudi move saying Saudi Pro League can become a 'top-five league in the world'

Sports News
Reuters: Ronaldo finished the Saudi Pro League season with 14 goals in 16 games for Al Nassr

The Saudi Pro League can become a "top-five league in the world" if they can attract more big-name players, says Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric have been linked with moves to Saudi Arabia and Ronaldo, 38, says they are "very welcome" to join him.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has completed his first season with Al Nassr after joining in December.

He has a contract to 2025 and added he "will continue here" next season.

Paris St-Germain have confirmed Messi will leave the club this summer and the Argentina forward, 35, has a role as a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia.

Ronaldo's former Real Madrid team-mates Benzema and Modric are also thought to be looking for lucrative moves at the tail end of their careers.

"If they are coming, big players and big names, young players, 'old players', they are very welcome because if that happens, the league will improve a little bit," Ronaldo said in an interview with the SPL.

"The league is very good but I think we have many opportunities to still grow. The league is competitive. We have very good teams, very good Arab players.

"But they need to improve a little bit more the infrastructure. Even the referees, the VAR system, should be a little quicker."

Ronaldo's second stint with Manchester United ended last November when his contract was cancelled by mutual consent.

After becoming the only player to score in five different World Cup tournaments, he scored 14 goals in 16 games to help Riyadh-based Al Nassr finish second behind champions Al Hilal.

"I think other small things they need to improve," added Ronaldo, who holds the records for most international goals and appearances.

"But I am happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here. And in my opinion if they continue to do the work that they want to do here, for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be a top five league in the world."